April 21, 2003
Employers conducted 7,163 extended mass layoff actions, affecting almost 1.5 million workers in 2002. These totals were down from 8,350 events and just more than 1.75 million separations in 2001.
In 2002, seasonal work continued to be the most cited reason for layoff, accounting for 32 percent of all layoff events and 37 percent of all separations.
Layoff activity due to internal company restructuring was at a level exceeded only in 2001 and occurred largely among general merchandise stores. In all, employers cited this reason in 1,654 events, about 23 percent of the total, resulting in the separation of 375,593 workers, 25 percent of the total.
These data are from the Mass Layoff Statistics program and cover layoffs of at least 31-days duration that involve 50 or more individuals from a single establishment filing initial claims for unemployment insurance during a consecutive 5-week period. Data for 2002 are preliminary. "Restructuring" is a combination of bankruptcy, business ownership change, financial difficulty, and reorganization. For more information see Extended Mass Layoffs in the Fourth Quarter of 2002 and Annual Averages for 2002 (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 03-178.